I. "WE LOVE HIM BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US."
A. God has declared His love for us.
Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.
The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, [saying], Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
1. Paul speaks of His great love wherewith He loved us.
2. It is one thing to declare your love, but quite another thing to manifest your love.
3. Love is often manifested by gifts.
B. God manifested His love to us by the gift of His Son.
1. For God so loved the world that He have His only begotten Son.
2. John writes:
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.
3. God has also given us the gift of eternal life.
a. He loved us so much that He wanted us to spend eternity with Him.
b. "This is the record, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son, he that has the Son has life."
c. "But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
d. "By grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God."
C. Love is affirmed by promises.
1. When a couple desires to spend the rest of their lives together, they stand before God and make promises to each other.
a. Promises to have and to hold from now on.
b. For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.
c. To love and to cherish till death parts them.
2. God has made His promises to you.
And this is the promise that he hath promised us, [even] eternal life.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed [it] by an oath:
That by two immutable things, in which [it was] impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
D. Our love for God is responsive. "We love Him because He first loved us."
1. We did not initiate this love relationship, God did.
2. There was nothing in me that prompted God to love me.
3. God said to Israel,
The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye [were] the fewest of all people:
4. God's love for me is uncaused by me, but emanates from His divine nature of love.
E. "Thus we love Him because He first loved us."
1. My heart responds to His great love for me.
2. God loved me and declared His love for me, and my heart responded to Him.
II. "IF A MAN SAY, I LOVE GOD."
A. There are many people who make that claim.
1. My reprobate alcoholic uncle used to say that all the time.
2. Someone has said that words are cheap.
a. I have had people come in to talk with me about their needs, and they have declared, "I have all of the faith in the world." I immediately think, "You do not need me to pray for you, I need you to pray for me."
b. People often assert, "I love God more than anything in all the world."
2. John said, "Let us not love in word or tongue, but in deed and in truth."
3. God said that He loved you, then He proved it.
B. What proof can you show that you love God?
1. To the rich young ruler who declared to Jesus that he had kept all of the law from the time he was a youth, Jesus said, "If you would be perfect, go sell everything you have and give the money to the poor and come and follow Me, and you will have great reward in heaven."
2. He went away sorrowful. What Jesus did was to give him a vivid insight of himself. He said one thing, but his actions revealed the truth.
a. The law said, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." His money was a god in his life, that kept him from following Jesus Christ.
b. God tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves, he surely did not love his neighbor as himself, for he was not willing to share his abundance with his poor neighbor.
C. What would God have us to do to show our love?
1. How about spending more time with Him.
a. If you really love someone, you want to spend as much time with them as possible.
b. I wonder what God thinks of our excuses that we often make for not spending more time with Him?
c. They used to sing a song, "Time for business, time for pleasure, Time for going on in sin, Have you any time for Jesus, Sinner won't you let Him in?"
d. We might sing, "Time for the newspaper, time for T.V.,"
2. How often do you just declare your love for Him?
a. Do you ever just sing love songs to Him?
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
b. "I love you Lord, and I lift my voice to worship you,--"
3. If love likes to express itself in gifts, what have you given to God lately to express your love for Him?
D. What John basically says is that we prove our love for God by our love for our brothers.
E. If we say that we love God and we hate our brother, we are a liar.
1. Back in 2:4 John said if we say we know God and we do not keep His commandments, we are liars.
2. Here he tells us that if we say we love God and hate our brother we are liars.
3. He who loves not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom hath not seen.
a. Most of the modern translations have that, "For anyone who loves not his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen."
b. I find that a little better.
c. I can imagine how in certain circumstances it would be easier to love someone who you have not seen than someone whom you have seen.
d. When I was in college I was told of this pastor who had the most beautiful daughter who was just a doll. I decided to see if she would be interested in starting up a correspondence relationship.
E. I show my love for God by my obedience.
1. God has commanded us, "Whoever loves God, loves his brother also."
2. He does not leave that to our discretion but commands us to love our brother also.